Now that I have your attention!
I joined some other very keen folk on St Kilda beach on a Saturday morning (after a reasonably committed Friday long lunch) for a bit of learning. The sun was shining, the water lapping at the sand and in the background, I observed two hours of someone’s yoga class that I could have done without. However, along with my fellow BBQ lovers, I took part in this masterclass from one of Australia’s most noted grillers – BBQ king, Chris Girvan-Brown. This was all part of the Redheads BBQ festival, another mini festival in the orgy of indulgence that is the 2013 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Its fair to say that, until a recent interview with Chris on my radio show, I was not clued in to the ever emerging BBQ scene in Australia and that we are taking our lead from the fanatic American grilling madness. I wasn’t aware, for example, that the Jack Daniels Invitational was a feature on the US BBQ scene. But it is, and so now you are informed as much as I am.
Smoking and BBQ are not something I would normally do on a Sunny Saturday morning in Melbourne. I tend to reserve these activities for an hour when it is considered civilised to drink beer – but there I was. As the sun started to develop a bit of a sting, we were treated to a masterclass filled with tips to make your BBQ experience something to boast about. There were no snags and pre purchased burgers here please – no sirree!
Rib eye, lamb racks, brined chicken wings, pork fillets that had been marinated in apple juice, a lamb shoulder cooked overnight for 8 hours and literally falling off the bone, chicken breast injected (by us) with a very fancy syringe machine to add flavour and boost the moistness and the piece de resistance, a chicken curry cooked in a coconut (that I had to saw in half) in a BBQ. It was delicious, and I am not one to blow my own trumpet, but for something that took myself and the BBQ master about 4 minutes to prepare, it tasted pretty darned good to me.
There were a few moments through the 2 hour presentation that would have done well on an episode of Benny Hill (and I do blame myself for these). There was a particular moment when a syringe with holes in the side was used to inject a nice plump chicken breast with some marinade (from the inside so it did not burn). This turned in to some giggles about syringes on St Kilda beach and the lack of novelty in that, but again I digress.
I walked around the BBQ festival as the hordes began to arrive and I am assured the remainder of the day was as successful as our own masterclass. The aroma remained with me all day (in my hair and clothes) and I was constantly reminded of the fun that was had in these two hours.
If I was a grunter, I would have had some Tim Allen moments looking around at some of the exceptional machines that were littered in stands around the festival – something for every taste and skill level among the grills, roasters, smokers and assorted BBQ paraphernalia. I enjoyed learning some more about this emerging trend among Australians and am glad we have a new 4WD to hitch around the new appliances that are on my wish list now.